Wednesday, January 31, 2018

No quick fixes. No cookie-cutter solutions.

One of the primary reasons I have never been able to sell my ideas or build business support is that I've never put together a "cookie-cutter" type program design that companies could use to build and sustain a strategy that helps kids from high poverty areas move through school and into jobs and adult responsibilities.

Instead, I've built a library of information and ideas and encouraged people to spend time reading, reflecting and building a long-term commitment to the types of work needed to be done over many years.  Unfortunately, that's not what many social problem solvers and CSR leaders are looking for. They want quick fixes and short term proof of results.

I read an article yesterday that points to this problem and talked about how difficult it is to scale ideas that work in one place, or in a laboratory environment, to many other places.  I hope you'll take time to read it then read more of what I write below and in other articles on this blog.

This graphic shows three concepts that I've focused on for a long time.

At the far right is a "mentoring kids to careers" graphic that shows the 12 years of support needed to help a youth in a high poverty neighborhood move through school and into jobs and careers.

In the middle is a graphic where I used the Thomas Edison process of inventing a light bulb, then an industry that made electricity available throughout the world. Raising kids is not a science. Every kid is different. The family and community environment is different for each youth, and often constantly changing.  Building tutor/mentor programs that help connect extra adults and  youth, has some of the same challenges.  Great programs are needed in all high poverty neighborhood, posing a huge challenge for funders and city planners.

At the right is a systems thinking approach to problem solving, which I've borrowed from articles by Gene Bellinger.   This process focuses on learning everything we can about a problem and possible solutions before we design our own program.  It focuses on this process as a cycle that repeats each year, building on what we learned from our own experiences, and what we keep learning from others. My web library is intended to support this process.

Here's another visualization of my "mentoring kids to careers" graphic, In this case I compare raising a child to building a sky-scraper. In one case builders use extensive, complex blueprints to show work that needs to be done from the first step to the last step. Everyone doing the work needs specific skills and needs to be paid.

While my graphics show a vision for helping kids grow up, and s how some age-level actions that might support this journey, parents, teachers and youth program leaders need the flexibility to innovate and adopt their efforts to the specific needs of individual children at different stages on this journey. there is no blueprint for raising  kids, and the funding for paying everyone needed in this process is almost non-existent.

As you read the article that I pointed to above (here's the link again), think of how much flexibility is needed by those raising kids as they follow the "blueprints" and examples of others.

I met with the leader of a business association foundation yesterday and shared some of my thinking. I pointed to this page on the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC site, showing leadership strategies that need to be adopted in every industry, in universities and in hospitals across the country.  I encouraged him to appoint a "get it done" person to work with me, and do the reading, research and thinking, so that his group could build this strategy and set an example for other industries.

That invitation is open to leaders in every industry. Here's my Linkedin page and my Twitter feed. Connect with me.

If you value what I'm writing about and the library of ideas I host, then visit this page and become a contributor to help me do this work.

update 2/1/2018 - In the links section on the left side of this blog I point to many of my web sites and also point to a few sites hosted by others that I value. One is titled "From Poverty to Power". Here's an article that is related to the link I pointed to in the above article.

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